Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Flight Guatemala

12 Midnight - Flight to Guatemala
I am blogging this post to you at Midnight because there likely will not be another time to make a post before my flight to Guatemala.

This morning at 4:45am, the front desk at Ramada Hotel will phone to wake me up. My AeroMexico flight to Guatemala takes off at 6:30am. So there should be plenty of time to get to the airport, check in and go thru passenger inspection.

My flight arrives at La Aurora Airport in Guatemala at 8:25am. The very first thing that I will do is find an ATM and withdraw some local currency. 1 Guatemalan Quetzal = 0.13 US dollars.  So, I will try and withdraw 1500 Quetzals which should be $200US. I've never been good at math, so don't quote me!

A taxi will likely take me to Uxlabil Hotel/Apartments in Guatemala City. I'll probably be staying in Guatemala City for only a few days, and then move to Lake Atitlan, Guatelmala.

Everything is up in the air. As usual, my plans are very flexible!

9PM - Guatemala-first impressions
I do not know why I expected Guatemala to be a country of shacks and old buildings! But I did. As the airplane got close to the ground, I was surprised to see modern buildings. Homes in nice looking neighborhoods. Yes, there are also a lot of neighborhoods with run down looking houses.

It was easy to go thru immigration and customs. There was no inspection at all. I asked a man near the baggage claim where I could find an ATM. He told me the 3rd floor over the parking garage. There were two ATMs there. The first one did not dispense money. Maybe it was empty? The second machine dispensed 1000 Quetzals, which I believe is $130US.

I asked a couple of people if there is internet inside the airport. They pointed to a food court on a 2nd level above the check-in counters. Asking if internet was free at "El Mejor Café del Mundo" [The Best Cafe in the World], the young woman behind the counter told me, "Yes, free!" But I bought a large chocolate chip cookie in order to receive some change and get an idea of food costs [cookie=10 quetzals ($1.30US)]. Also, she gave me the code for the cafe's WiFi.
Jorge at El Mejor Café del Mundo

10PM - Change of plan!
Samuel the taxi driver drove me to Uxlabil Hotel. It turned out that Uxlabil is in a very quiet residential neighborhood. No restaurants. No places to shop. No nothing except private homes.

Samuel suggested that I would like another neighborhood much better, and he drove me from Zona 10 to Zona 9 where is located a very small hotel named, "Hotel Carillon". There are tons of places to eat and shop around here. The cost is 197 Quetals per nite [$25.61US].

I am using Carillon's internet right now!

If you click on "Nite Camp Location" below, a Google Map will come up showing where the Carillon Hotel is located. I was very surprised that when zooming in on Google Map, Hotel Carillon is called out by name! In fact the hotel's owner was surprised as well.
Hotel Carillon-Guatemala City
Zona 9

3PM - Walked my feet off!
Between yesterday in Mexico City and today in Guatemala City, I have walked my feet off! Maybe I could use the exercise because after yesterday's search for adventure in Mexico City, I felt a bit crippled. This afternoon here in Guatemala, I just feel tired!

Samuel the taxi driver took me to stay in a nice neighborhood for restaurants. There are a ton of restaurants in the neighborhood of Carillón Hotel. I have chosen, "Maiz", a restaurant that has a wonderful menu including salads. I've got to keep eating healthy foods while I am on this trip!

Note: It turned out that what I thought was "Maiz" restaurant is actually "Nais" restaurant. This is a play-on-words for "Nice" restaurant. And it is a nice restaurant. I ate there this evening and had soup, salad and Baby Back Pork Ribs. Yummmm!

Gasoline prices in Guatemala
New Mavicita took a pic of the gasoline prices in Guatemala City. The regular price shown in the pic below converted to US dollars is $4.47US/gallon. When I buy Guatemala Quetzales at an ATM, the conversion price works out to .1285 US cents/quetzal. The gasoline price seems terribly expensive to me! I wonder if I my math is right?

Here in Guatemala, gallons are used. Not liters
Shell gasoline prices-Guatemala City

Mostly cloudy